This week, we learned a LOT about copyright law. This was really interesting to me because I realized that I know VERY little about them. It is also interesting because I feel as though this course would have been handy much earlier on in the program. We have been creating these ePortfolios, online blogs about our learning, and yet who knows if what we were creating and posting was legally allowed to be there! I will have to make sure to go back into all of my content and make sure it is okay. I definitely cite everything I do, but I learned this week that just because you cite something (use attribution!) it doesn’t mean you were allowed to post it in the first place. I also learned a lot about fair use and how that all ties in to being a teacher. Fair use is something that, to me, seems pretty vague and subjective, and I wanted to make sure I had a good grasp on it, especially because I will be creating the hybrid course and will need to make sure that the materials I post for my students are there legally and fairly.
The resource that was most helpful to me was the “Copyright Compliance Made Simple” article by Linda Enghagen. She breaks it down into six simple rules, all of which are explained simply yet thoroughly. I will be sure to save this resource for when I am building my course so that I can revisit the rules when needed. The first rule is “if you own the copyright to the materials, you can use them in whatever manner you wish” (Enghagen, p.5). This part is the most obvious to me, and something that I might want to consider is to apply for a Creative Commons License so that my material is accessible but also protected. I do sometimes worry about posting all of my original materials online without protecting them. The second rule is that “copyright law does not protect some materials” (Enghagen, p.6). This reminds me to check to see which materials even are protected at all. The third rule is obvious to me. It is that “you are not allowed to use materials you acquired or accessed unlawfully” (Enghagen, p.9). The fourth rule is similar to the third, and states, “you are not allowed to use materials you acquired or were given access to by someone else if you know or have reason to know that person obtained the materials or access to them in an unlawful manner” (Enghagen, p. 9). This is a good reminder to double check the materials that were given to me or that I was given access to. Rule number five is really interesting and might be the most useful, as it connects with some of the fair use ideas. It discusses owning a copy of the materials or owning accessed materials that were lawfully acquired (Enghagen, p. 10). The final rule discusses the TEACH Act, something that I will also have to continue to research and continue to use when creating and posting materials (Enghagen, p. 14).
Enghagen, L. “Copyright compliance made simple”. The Sloan Consortium. Retrieved from
Other resources on these topics: